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Gallaudet stumbles against Norwich as Cadets storm back to hand Bison first conference loss

Gallaudet stumbles against Norwich as Cadets storm back to hand Bison first conference loss

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gallaudet University was outscored 34-7 over the course of the final 39 minutes as visiting Norwich University withstood a 17-0 start by the Bison to comeback and win, 34-24, before a crowd of 375 at Hotchkiss Field. The loss is the first at home, the first in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play for Gallaudet this season and snaps a four-game winning streak.

Norwich (4-2, 1-2 ECFC), the defending conference champions, controlled the second half as the Cadets scored three consecutive touchdowns and held a 19:44-10:16 time of possession advantage. In fact, the Cadets had the ball for nearly 11 minutes in the decisive fourth quarter alone. Gallaudet (4-2, 2-1 ECFC) only had the ball four times in second half (two possessions in each quarter) and were forced to punt twice, scored one touchdown and was intercepted to end the game.

Norwich senior quarterback Kris Sabourin led the rally for the Cadets as he completed 19-of-35 passes for 284 yards, four touchdowns and ran the ball 16 times for 127 yards. In the fourth quarter, when Norwich scored twice, it was Sabourin that completed 6-of-7 passes for 76 yards and one score and ran four times for 47 yards.

The Cadets' game-winning score occurred at the 9:12 mark in the fourth quarter when Sabourin completed a 71-yard drive on 12 plays with a 6-yard pass to Dan Jamieson to put Norwich up three, 27-24.

GU punted on its next possession after five plays and pinned the Cadets back at their own 18 with 6:32 left in regulation. Sabourin and company simply marched 82 yards on eight plays down the field to score an insurance touchdown and increase their lead to 10 with just over two minutes left. The Bison defense forced one third down during the drive but Sabourin converted on a 15-yard run. Senior Danny Triplett (20 carries, 65 yards) scampered in from 13 yards out for his second touchdown on the day. He caught a 15-yard pass from Sabourin right before halftime to cut Gallaudet's lead to four, 17-13, at intermission.

Norwich is 4-0 all-time against Gallaudet since the two schools joined the ECFC in 2009. Prior to today's outcome all three setbacks for the Bison were by one score (eight or less points).

The Bison started the game on the right foot when freshman quarterback Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) hit freshman running back Braxton Baker (Webb City, Mo.), on the first play from scrimmage, on a pass down the left sideline for 57 yards before Baker fumbled out-of-bounds at the Norwich 6. Two plays later, Bonheyo hit senior wide receiver Ryne Worsham (Chicago, Ill.) for a 5-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone. Worsham caught five passes for 68 yards and one touchdown.

GU led 7-0 heading into the second quarter when the Cadets were forced to punt to senior cornerback Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.). Norwich punted the ball just past midfield where Tatum fielded it, raced down the near sideline for 54 yards into the end zone, his second punt return for a touchdown this season. The Bison led 14-0 just a minute into the second quarter.

Gallaudet tacked on three more points when freshman kicker Chase Magsig (Hudsonville, Mich.) made a 33-yard field goal with 11:35 left before halftime. Magsig just missed a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Norwich got on the scoreboard on the ensuing drive when Sabourin hit Zach Allen (five receptions, 101 yards) for a 15-yard score at the 8:43 mark.

The turning point of the game took place with just over a minute before halftime as Gallaudet faced third down and six yards at its own 40. Bonheyo ran eight yards for an apparent first down but a holding penalty on the Bison negated the play and pushed them back 10 yards for third down and 16. Bonheyo dropped back and forced a throw over the middle that was intercepted by safety Ethan Hanks and returned 17 yards to the Gallaudet 30 with 59 seconds left before halftime. Sabourin needed only four plays to punch it when he hit Triplett from 15 yards out with 28 seconds left on the clock.

Bonheyo finished the game 13-for-25 for 230 yards, a new career-high, two touchdowns but was intercepted twice. He also ran the ball 14 times for 52 yards. Bonheyo was picked off with 42 seconds left in the game when he threw up a pass intended for Worsham but was intercepted in the end zone by Dominique Davis.

Freshman BJ Flores (Raymondville, Texas) ran the ball eight times for 26 yards and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Bonheyo at the end of the third quarter as GU led 24-20.

Senior safety Shelby Bean (Arvada, Colo.) led the team with nine tackles (seven solo) and two pass breakups while senior linebacker Tom Pangia (Hammonton, N.J.) made eight tackles. Sophomore linebacker Jaris Alleyne (Waldorf, Md.) made seven tackles and had 3.5 tackles for a loss of 14, one sack for a loss of seven yards and recovered one fumble. The Bison defense had two sacks for a loss of 13 yards and 10 tackles for a loss of 28 yards.

Norwich senior defensive lineman Matt Simonelli had 11 tackles to lead the Cadets on defense.

Gallaudet will next travel to Leicester, Mass., to take on Becker College on Saturday, Oct. 20, at noon in an ECFC contest.